Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (4):345-364 (2009)

The ‘Wrong Kind of Reason’ problem for buck-passing theories (theories which hold that the normative is explanatorily or conceptually prior to the evaluative) is to explain why the existence of pragmatic or strategic reasons for some response to an object does not suffice to ground evaluative claims about that object. The only workable reply seems to be to deny that there are reasons of the ‘wrong kind’ for responses, and to argue that these are really reasons for wanting, trying, or intending to have that response. In support of this, it is pointed out that awareness of pragmatic or strategic considerations, unlike awareness of reasons of the ‘right kind’, are never sufficient by themselves to produce the responses for which they are reasons. I argue that this phenomenon cannot be used as a criterion for distinguishing reasons-for-a-response from reasons-for-wanting-to-have-a-response. I subsequently investigate the possibility of basing this distinction on a claim that the responses in question (e.g. admiration or desire) are themselves inherently normative; I conclude that this approach is also unsuccessful. Hence, the ‘direct response’ phenomenon cannot be used to rule out the possibility of pragmatic or strategic reasons for responses; and the rejection of such reasons therefore cannot be used to circumvent the Wrong Kind of Reason Problem.
Keywords Philosophy   Ontology   Political Philosophy   Ethics
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Reprint years 2010
DOI 10.1007/s10677-009-9177-3
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References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Value in Ethics and Economics.Elizabeth Anderson - 1993 - Harvard University Press.
How Truth Governs Belief.Nishi Shah - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (4):447-482.

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Citations of this work BETA

In Defense of the Wrong Kind of Reason.Christopher Howard - 2016 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (1):53-62.
The Wrong Kind of Reasons.Nye Howard - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. New York: Routledge. pp. 340-354.

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